Dal is a popular Indian dish made with lentils.  You can add any of your favorite vegetables to this delicious Red Lentil and Cauliflower Dal recipe.  But I like how roasted cauliflower adds some texture without overtaking the delicate taste of the lentils.  You can serve dal as is with a hunk of naan, or ladle over basmati or jasmine rice.

Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free

Serves 4-6


  • 1 cup of red lentils, dried*
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 2” piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 ½ cups of unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, washed thoroughly and roughly chopped
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Naan, for serving*


  • Do not use green lentils for this recipe!  They take longer to cook than red or yellow lentil varieties.  I was able to easily find red lentils in the dried bean section of my grocery store. 
  • Naan is an Indian bread that resembles flatbread.  You can generally find it in the deli section of the grocery store, or you may be able to find it in the international food aisle or frozen international food aisle.


  1. Place the dried lentils in a glass bowl and cover with water.  Using your fingers, agitate the lentils in the bowl to wash them, then drain off the dirty water.  When the water is no longer cloudy after stirring the lentils around, they are clean and ready to use.  Allow the lentils to soak in room temperature water for 30 minutes.
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add minced garlic and grated ginger and cook for another 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  
  3. Add cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and stir for a minute to allow the spices to perfume.  Add tomato paste and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.  
  4. Pour in the can of tomatoes with their juices (scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate all that yummy flavor!), and let that simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the coconut milk and vegetable broth and stir to combine.
  5. Drain the lentils.  When the tomato mixture begins to bubble, add the lentils.  Cover the pot and allow to cook on a low heat for 30 minutes or more, until the lentils are soft and the sauce is thickened.  
  6. Add chopped cilantro (reserving a ¼ cup for garnish) and lemon juice, then allow the dal to cook for an additional 10 minutes.  
  7. Ladle into bowls (or over rice, if you’d prefer), garnish with the reserved cilantro, and serve with warm naan.
    Kristina Shane

    This recipe is from Home Chef and OPL Community member Kristina Shane.


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